Bornc. 435 BCE
Diedc. 356 BCE
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolCyrenaic school
Main interests

Aristippus of Cyrene (s/; Greek: Ἀρίστιππος ὁ Κυρηναῖος; c. 435 – c. 356 BCE) was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of Philosophy.[1] He was a pupil of Socrates, but adopted a very different philosophical outlook, teaching that the goal of life was to seek pleasure by circumstances to oneself and by maintaining proper control over both adversity and prosperity. His outlook came to be called "ethical hedonism." Among his pupils was his daughter Arete.

There are indications that he was conflated with his grandson, Aristippus the Younger.[2]


Aristippus, the son of Aritades, was born in Cyrene, Ancient Libya, c. 435 BCE. He came to Greece to be present at the Olympic games, where he asked Ischomachus about Socrates, and by his description was filled with so ardent a desire to see Socrates, that he went to Athens for the purpose,[3] and remained with him almost up to the time of his execution in 399. Diodorus[4] dates him to 366, which agrees very well with the facts known about him, and with the statement,[5] that Lais, the courtesan with whom he was intimate, was born in 421.

Though a disciple of Socrates, Aristippus wandered very far both in principle and practice from the teaching and example of his great master. He lived luxuriously, was happy to seek sensual gratification and the company of the notorious Lais. He also took money for his teaching, the first of Socrates' disciples to do so[6] and even told Socrates that he resided in a foreign land in order to escape the trouble of involving himself in the politics of his native city.[7] He passed part of his life at the court of Dionysius I of Syracuse or Dionysius the Younger, and is also said to have been taken prisoner by Artaphernes, the satrap who drove the Spartans from Rhodes in 396.[8] He appears, however, at last to have returned to Cyrene, and there he spent his old age.

In Book VI of De architectura, Vitruvius describes Aristippus:

It is related of the Socratic philosopher Aristippus that, being shipwrecked and cast ashore on the coast of the Rhodians, he observed geometrical figures drawn thereon, and cried out to his companions: "Let us be of good cheer, for I see the traces of man." With that he made for the city of Rhodes, and went straight to the gymnasium. There he fell to discussing philosophical subjects, and presents were bestowed upon him, so that he could not only fit himself out, but could also provide those who accompanied him with clothing and all other necessaries of life. When his companions wished to return to their country, and asked him what message he wished them to carry home, he bade them say this: that children ought to be provided with property and resources of a kind that could swim with them even out of a shipwreck.[9]

Other Languages
العربية: أريستبوس
azərbaycanca: Aristipp
беларуская: Арыстып
български: Аристип
bosanski: Astrip
eesti: Aristippos
español: Aristipo
euskara: Aristipo
فارسی: آریستیپوس
Bahasa Indonesia: Aristippos
italiano: Aristippo
עברית: אריסטיפוס
қазақша: Аристипп
kurdî: Arîstîpos
Кыргызча: Аристипп
magyar: Arisztipposz
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Aristipp
پنجابی: ارسطیفوس
polski: Arystyp
português: Aristipo de Cirene
română: Aristip
русский: Аристипп
Scots: Aristippus
shqip: Aristipi
slovenščina: Aristip iz Kirene
suomi: Aristippos
svenska: Aristippos
Türkçe: Aristippos
українська: Арістіпп з Кирени
Tiếng Việt: Aristippus